Wednesday 29 March 2017

World Cup ball is 'supernatural'

Several football players have criticised the new World Cup ball
Several football players have criticised the new World Cup ball

Several players are going all out against the new World Cup ball, with one suggesting it is 'supernatural'.

And this time it's not only goalkeepers who are complaining. Strikers, defenders and midfielders are also lashing out at the Adidas ball just a few days before the month-long tournament is to begin in South Africa.

The ball is called Jabulani, which means "to celebrate" in isiZulu, but not many are celebrating it so far.

It is hard to find a player who is happy with it, and those who do not like it are not saving adjectives to describe their feelings.

"It's very weird," Brazil striker Luis Fabiano said. "All of a sudden it changes trajectory on you. It's like it doesn't want to be kicked. It's incredible, it's like someone is guiding it. You are going to kick it and it moves out of the way. I think it's supernatural, it's very bad. I hope to adapt to it as soon as possible, but it's going to be hard."

Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar on Saturday called the ball "terrible" and was the first to compare it to those plastic ones bought on a supermarket. Italy striker Giampaolo Pazzini said the same thing, calling it a "disaster."

"It moves so much and makes it difficult to control. You jump up to head a cross and suddenly the ball will move and you miss it," Pazzini said. "It is especially bad for the goalkeepers if it means they concede a goal because they can't judge the trajectory."

Adidas traditionally launches new balls for each World Cup and they usually cause controversy because of the changes prompted by the new technology being introduced. Most of the time the ball becomes speedier and goalkeepers are the ones most affected by it. But this time the livelier ball is causing problems to field players too.

"There is no way to hide it," Brazil midfielder Julio Baptista said. "It's bad for the goalkeepers and it's bad for us. It's really bad. The players try to cross it and it goes to the opposite direction they intended it to go."

Adidas said the technology on the Jabulani is "radically new," and when it launched the ball in December it stated that it would sail true because small dots on the surface would help improve reliability in the air. It said the ball would have "an exceptionally stable flight and perfect grip under all conditions."

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